Need advice on mixers

I’m a beginner, so please forgive my ignorance.

I’ve been thinking about buying an inexpensive mixer, such as the Behringer Eurorack UB-1202.

So, let’s say I’m recording drums, and I plug four microphones into the mixer. Will each microphone be a separate track in Audacity? Or will everything be converted to a single track? If it’s just a single track, is there any other (affordable) way to get separate tracks for each mic?

Also, can I plug the mixer directly into my computer’s line-in? Or will I need an interface? If so, would the Behringer UCA-202 do the job?


Whichever pathway you take, the sound mixer has to supply all four or eight or sixteen channels of sound down one digital cable. The rule is Audacity will accept up to 16 tracks of sound from any one device. The silly example is that you can’t plug eight turntables in and get sixteen channels of sound.

Most inexpensive mixers mix everything down to stereo (2-channel) and that’s the way it is. Having the mixer supply a multi-channel bitstream is unusual enough that I bet they wave that fact in the advertising. I wouldn’t be shocked to find that multi-channel output is the dividing line between beginner and intermediate mixer quality–and that’s where the price goes up.

Multi-channel mixers also have the problem of multi-level mixdown. Which of four output channels do you want the drums on and do you want the drums on more than one output channel? Suddenly a simple mixer isn’t so simple any more.

I’ve never needed this and my stereo productions are mostly analog, so lets see what everybody else has to say.


The Behringer Eurorack UB-1202 is an analogue mixer and mixes down to stereo (though you can use the “fx send” to get a third channel).

If you have a reasonable quality sound card then you can plug the stereo output from the mixer into the line input of the sound card. I know someone that has this exact set-up and it works well, though you have to be careful that you do not overload the input of the sound card (keep the meters in the green and out of the amber).

If your sound card is rubbish, then you will need to upgrade your sound card. PCI soundcards are generally best but not suitable for laptops. I use a similar set-up with a bigger Behringer desk and an old SoundBlaster Live Value and I’m very happy with the quality. I have also used a UCA-202 and that works very well also.

This is a good set-up for recordings where you do not need to record multiple separate tracks simultaneously. For example, you can use it to make a stereo “live” recording, or multi-track recording where you record one instrument at a time.

If you need separate channels for each instrument, you need a multi-channel audio device. I think that both Alesis and Phonic make firewire mixers that do this, but you would need to check - they are also a lot more money.